The noon event was the 13 th annual Sanctity of Life march and memorial, organized by the Polk County Christian Coalition. Local ministers, advocates and crisis pregnancy counselors were among those speaking at the rally, held in front of Courthouse No. 2.
Tara Stringer, with Life Matters Outreach in Cedartown, related the history of the national Sanctity of Life rallies. President Ronald Reagan initiated the first such event in 1984, which was 11 years after the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally.
“Clinton suspended it for eight years, then George W. picked it up,” Stringer said. “Of course, our current president chose to celebrate the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.”
Stringer urged volunteers to continue pushing for an end to abortion in this country. However, she told them not to expect a political solution. She reminded the crowd that even in periods in which abortion opponents appeared to have a majority of Congress and a president strongly in their support, Roe vs. Wade was not overturned.
There has been progress made, Stringer noted, including laws restricting certain abortion procedures and adding requirements. And yet, abortion remains legal and widespread.
But don’t give up hope, she said. The pro-life movement is still gaining strength, support and is making progress.
“Just don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” she said, urging participants to take an active role in the anti-abortion movement. Just voting their conscience when supporting political candidates is not enough, she added.
“There are other things you can do,” Stringer said. “Crisis pregnancy outreach is one thing we can do. We present pro-life and abstinence education.”
Ruby Griffith, of the Life Choices center in Rockmart, shared a personal message that she hoped would deter women from seeking an abortion. In 1958, while pregnant, she began hemorrhaging. She was able to keep the pregnancy, but the child was born premature at 6 months.
“Doctors said he would never live,” Griffith recalls. “Today he’s 53.”
Between the ages of 18 and 22, she gave birth to four sons, she recalls. Then she unexpectedly became pregnant at the age of 34. Not planned and not convenient, there was no thought of aborting the pregnancy because as a Christian, she would never consider such a thing, Griffith said. But too many women today would make that terrible choice because of the easy availability of abortion, she said.
“My daughter is now 42 and she has been God’s gift to me in my old age,” Griffith said.
Abortion is too quickly suggested as a medical solution, other speakers suggested. The family story of football star quarterback Tim Tebow was shared during one speech.
Tebow’s parents, Pam and Bob Tebow, moved to the Philippines in 1985 with their other four children to serve as missionaries. Pam Tebow became ill with amoebic dysentery.
She fell into a temporary coma and received strong drugs to combat the infection, according to a 2007 article in The Gainesville Sun newspaper. Those drugs resulted in severe placental abruption, in which the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. That condition can deprive the fetus of oxygen and other necessary elements.
When it was discovered she was pregnant, doctors stopped the drugs but said that the high doses of medicine had already damaged the fetus, the Sun reported. The account is also part of Tim Tebow’s recent best-seller, “Through My Eyes.”
Because they believed the baby would not survive, doctors recommended an abortion so that Pam Tebow’s life would not be risked.
“They thought I should have an abortion to save my life from the beginning all the way through the seventh month,” she told the Sun.
She refused the abortion because of her faith; she prayed that she and her husband would have a healthy son.
Bob Tebow told Sports Illustrated: “I prayed, ‘God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I’ll raise him to be a preacher.’”
On Aug. 14, 1987, Mrs. Tebow gave birth. Born Timothy Tebow, the child was malnourished and the family was concerned about his survival.
Today, of course, Tim Tebow is listed on the Denver roster as 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds. He was a star quarterback at Nease High School; won two national championships as quarterback of the Florida Gators; won the Heisman as a sophomore, the first sophomore to do so; was chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft; and now has taken Denver to the playoffs in a near-miraculous ending to a season that started off poorly for the Broncos.
Moreover, Tebow has been a very public celebrity advocate for the Christian faith.
Imagine, speakers Saturday suggested, if Pam Tebow had listened to those doctors, gone against her faith and aborted her child?
Other speakers Saturday advocated for the passage of an ultrasound bill. Even organizer Larry Tolbert thanked Georgia Rep. Rick Crawford, D-Cedartown, who was in attendance at the rally, for promoting the ultrasound bill as a co-sponsor.
The bill would require pregnant women thinking about an abortion to see an ultrasound image of their fetus before terminating their pregnancy. Supporters hope that most women, upon seeing this image, would recognize that they are carrying a child and not “a blob of tissue.”
So far, the bill has failed to gain traction in the Legislature, even though it has been introduced repeatedly, Tolbert said. He thanked Crawford, as the District 16 representative, for continuing to support the legislation.
“We’re going to continue pressing them and trying to do what is right,” Tolbert said.
Tolbert also recognized political candidates Jennifer Hulsey and Trey Kelley, who are both running for the Republican nomination for the Dist. 16 seat. Crawford does not have a Democratic primary opponent and will face the Republican primary winner in November.